Indie Music

Vera Sola: Peacemaker review – deeply atmospheric American gothic

Vera Sola’s second album might have taken four years to make, but that’s nothing for an artist whose storytelling appears to span the centuries. The descendant of “gunslingers” and “spiritualists” (and actor Dan Aykroyd, her dad), she grew up between New York and rural Canada, taking its vast landscape as source material for her troubled gothic folk songs. Just as her debut, Shades (2018), made instruments of bones and broken glass, Peacemaker balances its polished Nashville musicianship with uncanny textures, resulting in a record so atmospheric you’d swear you could hear the rustle of her white prairie dress in the breeze.

While the smokiness of Sola’s voice draws parallels with Nancy Sinatra, the sense of doomed femininity evokes Lana Del Rey, particularly in Bird House (“Lady took the silence to mean nobody loved her”). However, Peacemaker could be filed just as easily alongside Tom Waits, with its downbeat wit telling of bad decisions and tales of starting forest fires, stakeouts and revenge plots, all recounted over twanging, fingerpicked guitar. Sola’s lyrics feel bookish, but not diaristic; she cuts a solitary, enigmatic figure, particularly on I’m Lying, which alternates breathless “I love you”s with claims she’s faking it. That poker face stays intact for the entire record.

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